CHALMERS — Happy birthday, indeed.
Frontier’s Kyra Wilson celebrated her birthday Friday by signing to play softball for NAIA-level Goshen College in 2020-21 after she graduates next year.
Wilson was seated next to Maple Leafs head coach Juliaclare Plezbert, and the Goshen coach was praising her newest signee when her eyes widened as the room broke out in song.
“Oh, is it your birthday today? Wow. Happy birthday,” Plezbert said before joining in the room-wide song. “Oh my gosh, buddy. I love that.”
Wilson signed with the NAIA school in Goshen after what she and Frontier head coach Sharon Wright both noted was a “stressful” process for Wilson.
“I had a couple different places I was looking at … but I really fell in love with Goshen after I met all the coaches and people,” Wilson said. “The softball team was an amazing family atmosphere that I feel in love with from the day I got on campus. It was an amazing experience for me.”
Added Wright, “It’s been a desire of hers since she started with me. And she’s been looking. I think it’s a very good fit for her, I’m very excited for her.”
Wilson said the school’s academic structure and curriculum fit her well, and that the private liberal arts college “offered a lot of interesting things that fit me and my personality.”
One of those is service. Goshen is a nationally-ranked Christian liberal arts college in Indiana known for leadership in international education, sustainability and social justice, and Wilson zeroed in on the school backing of missionary trips.
“I’m in love with volunteering my time … and G-d is my No. 1 supporter and I’m His No. 1 supporter,” she said. “I just love how they pursue G-d there at Goshen.”
Plezbert was drawn to Wilson because of the latter’s zest for volunteerism, among other things.
“The biggest thing for us is that — the person comes first, the athlete comes second,” Plezbert said. “Her athletic ability is great and something we’ll definitely build on, but you can’t build an awesome person. That’s what we look for, and that’s who she is.”
Wilson is a career .396 hitter with a .462 on-base percentage and 1.044 OPS. She has 111 hits, with 32 extra-base hits, 31 walks and 87 runs batted in in 90 games played across three seasons. As a junior, she batted .424 with 29 RBI, 13 extra-base hits and 12 walks.
“I saw something in her at a tournament, and then coach Ryan (Yocom) saw something that was different,” Plezbert said. “Normally, one of us sees a player and says, ‘Ok, let’s pursue that player.’ With this, it was a combination that made it so special — we both saw something special in who she was as a player and as a person.”